Discomfort is the main negative of this procedure. Despite strong topical anesthetic put on the face for as long as one hour and the use of very high-intensity cold air, this procedure is still uncomfortable. If this causes anxiety we can either administer nerve blocks or give oral pain and anxiety medications (although the latter would mean that you would need someone else to drive you home). There is usually a couple of days to as long as a week of swelling and redness, and in the case of the thulium or the dual, there is some peeling that can last a number of days.
During the healing period and after the treatment the areas treated will be more sensitive to sunlight. Proper sun protection should be worn at all times to minimize possible complications from sun exposure.
Uncommonly, a skin wound such as superficial blisters and scabbing can occur, which heal usually uneventfully within 2 to 14 days. However, as with any resurfacing treatment, there is a very small chance of an infection or a skin wound leading to a scar.
Another risk is a possibility of hypo (too little) or hyper (too much) pigmentation that is very uncommon. Usually treatable with prescription creams, chemical peels or further laser treatments, there is a <1% possibility that this could last forever. As part of the normal healing process, some patients may develop increased blood vessels in the treated area. Although these usually resolve on their own with time, additional laser treatments can reduce their appearance more quickly. In addition, if there is a history of acne or rosacea we often pre-treat with oral antibiotics as these conditions can be stirred up by this treatment.
Prior to treatment all potential risks and side effects will be discussed with you by your medical provider and cosmetic coordinator.